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In 15 Seconds Or More Part 1, I covered the three different types of place-based social media. In Part 2, I covered the seven steps in the user engagement path. In this final excerpt of the white paper of the same name (I’ll have to get around to finishing it now!), I’ll cover how place-based social media maps to different digital out-of-home channels.

Not all place-based social media is applicable to all channels. Some channels only have short dwell times or content loops (e.g. gas pumps) while others have longer dwell times and content loops (e.g. bars and events).

A guide to the type of place-based social media best suited to specific digital out of home channels can be seen in Fig 1 below.

Fig.1. Mapping Place-Based Social Media to Channels (Click to enlarge).

For short dwell times, or content slots of a maximum of 15 seconds, I’d recommend using passive place-based social media (e.g. displaying localized Twitter messages about a city, sports/team or news.) Zoom Media and Marketing Sport’s Bites and RMG Networks’ NYTimesToday.com are examples of passive applications built by LocaModa designed to grab attention and inform and/or entertain. True to their passive nature, these applications do not have call to action so do not support any DOOH user interactions.

For longer dwell times and content slots of 15-30 seconds, DOOH networks can use active place-based social media that support user participation features, subject to the capabilities of the DOOH network. As previously described, active place-based social media can be influenced by the DOOH audience but not in real time – either due to limitations of infrastructure or time required by brands/venues to ensure content is adequately filtered, moderated and/or curated. Example applications include trending Twitter topics or changes in existing accounts such as celebrities, to show which celebrities are more or less popular. Such applications can be used in supermarket check-out lines to entertain shoppers as described in this post about LocaModa and PRN.)

For long dwell times and content slots over 30 seconds, DOOH networks can use interactive place-based social media. Interactive applications include real-time Twitter, text/photo-to-screen, real-time polls, and check-ins (e.g. displaying check-in info and tips for services such as Foursquare, Facebook Places or Gowalla). Well designed and inexpensive moderation/curation tools make interactive applications easy to deploy these days.

There are plenty of application examples available via the LocaModa App Store and there will be more examples and information in the white paper which I’m aiming to finish before the end of this month.


Fig.1. Seven Stages Of Place-Based Social Media Engagement (Click to enlarge).

In Part 1 of 15 Seconds Or More, I covered the three different types of place-based social media. In this post, I cover the seven steps in the user engagement path that map across the three modes of place-based social media:

1. Recognize Ability to Participate
2. What’s In It For Me?
3. Start to Participate
4. Send Message
5. Receive Response
6. Screen Updates
7. Reaction

Content that indicates an ability to be influenced by its audience and/or invites a dialogue has a greater potential to stand out from content that is perceived as a one-way conversation between marketer and audience. Even if the audience doesn’t have the time to participate (which is the case in the short time availability of passive place-based social media), they can be more receptive if it is obvious that other people have participated in the messaging.

Passive place-based social media needs to promote aspects of its participatory nature very quickly. It can do this in a number of ways:

- By using user generated content from social streams such as Twitter , Foursquare, Facebook, mobile photos and text messages.
- By clearly indicating the sources of the content used for example, by using profile pictures, user comments, or displaying logos of content sources.
- Color can used to highlight keywords or tagged words to emphasize the fact that these messages have been user generated and how it was directed to that DOOH screen. (Also see the advice under SCREEN UPDATES, as many of the design considerations for attracting attention apply here.)

NOTE: Social network logos are becoming shorthand for a call to action. Just as www is a recognized acronym in advertising, Twitter or Facebook addresses, hashtags, or calls to “check-in” on Foursquare or Facebook Places are not only recognized by users of those services but are also becoming used in mainstream media including television and radio.

According to a white paper on the Marketing at Retail Initiative (MARI) “Shoppers rely on a subconscious response to the displays and products that come into their vision. Once interest is engaged there is a direct and measurable visual response to the object in vision. At this point a rational cognitive decision making process is engaged during which the buy/don’t buy decision is made. (The report goes on to conclude that a shopper is exposed to 1.5 pieces of marketing at retail material every second, then looks at and engages with an individual display every 4.3 seconds.)

Having noticed the media and perceived an ability to participate, the user has to care about participating. I like to think there are three “Fs” that address the “what’s in it for me” question: Fun, Fame or Fortune.

- An example of “Fun” is the DOOH game Jumbli which people play in locations and on line. Several players have amassed over 1 million points, which is the equivalent of many days of play.
- Fame – If the act of participation get’s a user’s message, picture or vote on the screen, that too can give the user enough of a reward for their participation (Jumbi displays the players words on all DOOH screens, including a screen in Times Square).
- Finally, if there is some reward – for example, an offer, discount or two-for-one opportunity, that can also tip the user into engaging (again, in Jumbli, AT&T, one of the game’s sponsors, offered free phones for the highest scoring words of the day).

Participation, especially in a short dwell time requires the simplest call to action and ideally multiple opportunities/channels to engage. For example:

- Use a memorable call to action. A user will find it easier to remember a call to action such as “Find us at facebook.com/target” rather than having to remember a long telephone number.
- Display familiar interaction methods for example text messaging, Twitter, Mobile photos, Mobile downloads, Facebook etc.
- Offer multiple channels of connectivity e.g. “Find us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter.”

Depending on the application, context and the capability of the DOOH network, sending a message should result in some immediate feedback. This feedback can be to the user’s mobile phone (in Active and Interactive Place-Based Social Media) and/or on the DOOH screen (only in Interactive Place-Based Social Media).

As mentioned above in the case Active and Interactive Place-Based Social Media the DOOH system should be able to send immediate feedback to the user’s phone. Such a reply is typically sent with 5 seconds of the user sending the message.
The reply should not only confirm the user’s interaction, for example, thanking them for engaging or responding to a specific command, instruction or question, but also contain the necessary statutory messages required by the mobile carriers.

In the case of Interactive Place-Based Social media, the DOOH screen can display feedback of the user’s engagement. Feedback should occur within 5 seconds to be effective and keep the dialogue alive. There should be some obvious clues on the DOOH screen that some of what is happening on the screen is happening as a result of user (rather than brand) direction. For example, the famous Boston sport’s bar Game On in the Fenway, runs LocaModa screens that display Twitter messages containing the words Red Sox. Those messages highlight the keywords Red and Sox, and the audience is immediately aware that they too could send a message to Twitter containing those words and (subject to moderation/curation rules) have their message appear on the Game On screen. Displaying applications such as Twitter and Foursquare with specific local calls to action results in a 30-60% increase in interactions in the venue.

At the same time as the DOOH screen updates, the DOOH system should be able to update other screens that are connected to the same application, for example, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds etc. Wherever possible, these screens should also update within immediately.

NOTE: The ability of a screen to update in real-time is limited by rules and/or the APIs (application programming interfaces) of social networks or messaging systems used. It will also be limited by the capability of the website to update from push/dynamic messages.
Here are a few other tips to help simplify messaging and aid interactivity:

- Use capitals or color to differentiate action words. For example, the Call To Action (CTA) “text Vote to 87884” is easier to comprehend when it is displayed as Text VOTE to 87884 or TEXT VOTE TO 87884
- Use existing paradigms wherever possible, especially if the engagement time is short.
- Sometimes it is better to simplify engagement at the expense of gaining more granular location-based data. For example, some systems can generate very localized data, but require the user to enter a longer keyword, hashtag or screen ID. The marketer needs to decide if the campaign’s goals are based on user engagement or granularity of the data (or other criteria). With good design, engagement and granularity of data can be maximized.

We can only hope that having motivated the user to participate, that we have started a process that can continue beyond a single interaction. However, this will not only depend on the system, but also on how compelling the experience actually is. For example, once a user has checked in to venue, they might not be motivated to post a tip or do anything else to win

More details about how to maximize the effectiveness of DOOH displays and campaigns to encourage/support the appropriate user behavior will be covered in Part 3 and in my white paper which will be coming soon.


What do I spot brewing way out there in the Pacific?

That’s right. A perfect Loca social media storm. Stephen and Jacob are headed to Japan next week to work on some LocaModa surprises to come!

[original img src via Nasa]


Members of the LocaModa sales and creative teams are on-site at the Waterfront Westin for The Ad Club’s Branded in Boston event.

Say hello to Steve, Greg, Gabi, and Dan if you see them!


This post is the third in a series of Tips for Displaying Social Media Content on Place Based Screens. Previous posts in the series discussed removing URLs and revealing backgrounds and the value of curation.

Many of LocaModa’s social applications involve pulling in content from Twitter and Flickr. In addition to basic Twitter to Screen and Flickr to Screen apps, more specialized apps like social polls and the Foursquare app also rely on tagged social media content in addition to real-time text to screen capabilities. As discussed in my post yesterday on Moderation v. Curation, engaging content proves essential to grabbing eyeballs for more than a split second, particularly in people-packed places. I’ll say it again: curation proves to be the best route to clean, culled content.

But what if your campaign is on a smaller scale than most LocaModa cross-channel executions, and you choose to rely on tagging alone to bring in relevant messages. Are you instantly hampered by misappropriated, mishmashed content?

Not if you tag smart.

Here’s a round-up of social media tagging tips from our years of experience here at Loca. Although these guidelines overlap in many ways with basic SEO and keyword marketing logic, these tips focus more specifically on place-based displays.

1. For a screen directly correlated to a specific venue, be careful if your bar or cafe name is on the generic side. No one at Joe’s Gourmet Pizza wants to know that “haha… my bro Joe stayed at the bar til 4am and then puked pizza on the cat. lol.” Well, maybe they do. But probably not while they’re eating.

Instead of tagging simply “joe” and “pizza,” tag the entire phrase “Joe’s Gourmet Pizza.” You’ll sacrifice message volume the more specific you are, but you’ll gain precision. If you’re not going to go the curation route, specificity in tagging will save you headaches from patrons later.

2. Watch your homophones. As an example of our current World Cup campaign: the Brazil superstar, Kaka. You giggle; Venue owners won’t. Toilet humor and selling sandwiches don’t mix.

3. Some venues try to take the easy way out and tag their screens with random “fun” tags like “party,” “bash,” and “awesome,” thinking it will pull in light, happy messages. Well, let’s experiment. I just went to Twitter and searched for “party.” The first tweet in the list:

It’s not offensive, but it’s certainly irrelevant, particularly if the venue was going for a fun and light vibe. In short, perform multiple Twitter and/or Flickr searches for the tags you have in mind before committing. Oftentimes, the context you’re thinking about isn’t the prevalent one.

4. Along the same vein, watch your hashtags. If you’re staging the National Safety for Farm Workers convention, you probably don’t want to tag your screen #nsfw. That’s probably not how you want to envision your horses.